Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday 8/26/05

A bit too quiet.

Monday's Tennessean contains an article titled "Quietly, tax fans and foes make their pitches" which was just about what I have been thinking. Quietly, for sure. Too quiet. When the folks that will get the pay raises from this tax raise and the folks that know more intimately than anyone else what's wrong with the public education system aren't talking I can only wonder why not?

Color of their skin.

Does it really matter to children what color the skin of their teacher is? And if it does we still have big problems. Is it really important that the math teacher understands a child's culture or that they know math well and know how to impart those skills to their students? Monday's Nashville City Paper's article, "Wanted: Minority teachers" relates the concern by a community activists that Metro Nashville isn't hiring enough African-American teachers. In these days of teacher shortages can we really afford to ignore any qualified teachers?

Thankfully, Dr. June Keel, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, has the right approach:

“The most important thing in the education world is we find qualified teachers, regardless of race or gender,” Keel said. “If we have an opening we will hire the best-qualified teacher that comes through our door.”

Beyond the core mission.

We have come to expect schools to do everything, especially those things parents can't or won't do. That's not fair. Parents are supposed to handle the parenting. Teachers are supposed to teach. If every child came to school with encouragement, food in their bellies and enough sleep, the job teachers do would be infinitely better and easier. And we wouldn't get so down on public education and our unreasonable expectations of it. Editorial from The Mountain Press of 8/22/05

“When you’re talking about the impact of education on creating a Children’s Agenda for Tennessee, you’re not talking about just education for children,” Metro Councilwoman Diane Neighbors said. “You’re talking about education for parents, education for caregivers, education for teachers, school board members and policy makers.” From the Nashville City Paper

I've said it before: Pay excellent teacher excellent wages.

[US Education Secretary Margaret] Spellings also participated in a discussion with local business leaders and school board members. She expressed interest in an incentive program for teachers that offers bonus pay for high test scores and student attendance.

"She was really interested in the incentive pay for urban schools," Hamilton County Board of Education chairman Chip Baker told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "There was a lot of discussion about it being a model for the nation." From the Southern Standard.

And where does that federal money come from?

Former "Education" Governor and current Senator Lamar! Alexander visited Memphis.

And help with the increasing price tag on college tuition in Tennessee he says has to stay at the forefront in Washington. "The state hasn't been able to continue to fund education as it should be so the federal government will have to step in with some scholarships and loans." He also touted works on a Head Start Re-Authorization Bill., which he says would give Head Start curriculums a boost, something County Mayor A-C Wharton says he's keeping a close eye on. From WREG.

About that fee, er free, public education:

Rhonda Thurman in Hamilton County has a few things to say about school fees. She includes citations to the Tennessee Code, a letter from the Hamilton County Chief Financial officer and some sad stories about what happens when parents do not pay the fees.

Parents wishing to pay school fees can pay them. They can even pay more if they wish. However, those who chose not to pay should not have to be in fear that their child will be embarrassed or punished at school. From The

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